Today’s coronavirus news: Capacity limits lift in Ontario cinemas, spectator sports venues, other spaces – Toronto Star

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By Star staff and wire services

Sat., Oct. 9, 20213 min. read

Article was updated 6 mins ago

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:33 a.m.: Singapore will allow vaccinated travel to and from nine more countries — Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and South Korea — without having to quarantine. The countries qualify as of Oct. 19, except for South Korea, which starts Nov. 15, the government said Saturday.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a televised address that Singapore can’t stay “locked down and closed off indefinitely,” pushing ahead with the strategy of living with COVID-19 despite a record surge in cases.

Singaporeans need to “respect COVID-19, but we must not be paralyzed by fear,” Lee said, outlining a “new normal,” possibly after three to six months, where Singapore will ease off restrictions, have light social distancing measures in place, and cases come down to hundreds a day.

7:56 a.m.: Capacity limits no longer apply for some Ontario venues that are asking patrons to show proof of vaccination.

Cinemas, theatres, concert and spectator sports venues and car and horse racing tracks are allowed to open at full capacity as of this morning.

The province says there have been few outbreaks in the selected settings and most other public health measures such as masks remain in place.

Physical distancing requirements are lifting along with capacity limits with some exceptions such as indoor meeting and event spaces, which must still maintain two metres between people.

The provincial government says it’s making the changes based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and the vaccine certificate policy.

Capacity rules are still in effect in other places requiring proof of vaccination such as gyms and restaurants.

7:55 a.m.: When Russian regulators approved the country’s own coronavirus vaccine, it was a moment of national pride, and the Pavlov family was among those who rushed to take the injection. But international health authorities have not yet given their blessing to the Sputnik V shot.

So when the family from Rostov-on-Don wanted to visit the West, they looked for a vaccine that would allow them to travel freely — a quest that brought them to Serbia, where hundreds of Russian citizens have flocked in recent weeks to receive Western-approved COVID-19 shots.

Serbia, which is not a member of the European Union, is a convenient choice for vaccine-seeking Russians because they can enter the allied Balkan nation without visas and because it offers a wide choice of Western-made shots. Organized tours for Russians have soared, and they can be spotted in the capital, Belgrade, at hotels, restaurants, bars and vaccination clinics.

Saturday 7:52 a.m.: Bars in Sao Paulo are full again for evening happy hours, lawmakers in the capital of Brasilia have nearly done away with video sessions via Zoom, and Rio de Janeiro’s beaches are packed. Calls for strict social distancing seem but a memory.

Brazil appears intent on returning to pre-pandemic normalcy, even as its death toll tops 600,000, according to official data on Friday from the Health Ministry. Relief in both COVID-19 cases and deaths have been particularly welcome given experts’ warnings that the Delta variant would produce another wave of destruction in the country with the second-most victims. So far, that hasn’t materialized.

The country’s average daily death toll has hovered around 500 for a month, down sharply from more than 3,000 in April. Almost 45% of the population is fully vaccinated, and a booster shot is being administered to the elderly. A greater percentage of Brazilians are at least partially vaccinated compared to Americans or Germans, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.

Improvement has encouraged mayors and governors to admit fans into soccer matches, and let bars and restaurants stay open until the wee hours. Some are even contemplating the end of mask mandates, which people often ignore already.

Read Friday’s coronavirus news.